Providers22 June, 2022



Providers22 June, 2022

Inflation is impacting everybody’s budget. That makes it all the more important to help patients deal with the rising cost of dental care. 

Dental problems multiply the longer they go untreated. Though avoidance only makes matters worse, the financial stress associated with treatment is enough to keep some waiting.

The financial stress isn’t solely a problem for low-income patients. High-income demographics are feeling it as well, which makes the question of how to help a priority.

Most people want to take care of their health issues — they just want to make sure they can afford it.

That’s why we created this list of the top ways your dental practice or DSO can reduce patients’ financial stress:

Emphasize preventive dentistry

Dental costs can be reduced with preventive care. But do your patients really know this to be true?

It goes beyond the standard encouragement to “brush-and-floss.” Patients require education and understanding to prioritize their ongoing oral health care.

  • Champion your dental hygienists. The first line of defense is your patient’s routine exam and teeth cleaning every six months.

  • Compel your patients with ongoing education about the cost-effective value of preventive care. Create and share practical content via your dental practice’s blog, a monthly newsletter, and social media posts. 

  • Communicate how they can maintain their tooth and gum health between appointments.

Engage your patients with financial relief solutions

When budgets are strained, educating patients about the impact of delayed care isn’t enough. Most people want to take care of their health issues — they just want to make sure they can afford it.

A full scope of financial options is an effective way to engage your patients. 

Offer “phased” treatment when possible

A costly treatment plan could be completed in phases. This gives patients the financial breathing-room to work within their budget, follow their insurance provider’s coverage cap, or be treated without insurance provision.

Offer interest-free monthly payments

Allow your patients to agree to a set period of interest-free financing for higher cost treatment. Maintain payment accountability with fees for late or missed payments and incentives for early payoff. This helps them avoid interest-based credit cards or third party financing plans.

Offer dental membership plans

Provide these in-house with fees that recur annually or monthly. Package specific services that are free or discounted such as select preventive care and/or restorative or cosmetic treatment. Confirm that the state(s) where you practice allow you to provide these financial solutions.

Offer dental savings plans

This solution assists those who are uninsured or under-insured. Treatment fees can be pre-set at a fair, discounted rate for eligible patients. 

Offer patient support on insurance

Consider how the insurance environment can be intimidating for patients. Designate an in-house insurance advocate or cross-train your business team to know the ins-and-outs of insurance coverage. Help ensure that your patients are maximizing their available benefits.

Embrace technology solutions 

Digital technology gives patients more solutions to make their oral healthcare a priority.

  • Artificial intelligence X-ray analysis can detect oral health problems earlier, when they are easier and less expensive to treat.

  • Telehealth visits can be used for emergency dental care questions to determine the urgency, as well as for follow-up visits, which saves patients and providers time.

  • Send automated text-to-pay reminders with a link that lets your patients pay online.

  • Create an online patient portal where patients can access and update their records, make payments, and ask questions.

Convenience, time savings, and cost-control solutions give patients more incentive to schedule. And the financial options you provide support your patients during periods of rising dental care costs.